Does your mood/outlook on life ever change when the winter months roll around? If it does, you are definitely not alone. This is called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), or more simply, seasonal depression and could happen anytime between September to March. But why?
DROP IN SEROTONIN: Because of the time change resulting in fewer daylight hours, serotonin (chemical responsible for maintaining mood and balance) production naturally slows down. The lower levels of serotonin contribute to feelings of depression.
INCREASE IN MELATONIN: Darkness triggers the release of melatonin (hormone that helps controls sleep and wake cycles). So in these months, it is possible for more melatonin to be produced. This can result in fatigue, weight gain, less energy, trouble concentrating, etc.
CHANGE IN CIRCADIAN RHYTHM: Because of the change in melatonin release, the body's natural time clock gets thrown out of whack, possibly triggering seasonal depression.
Could this be something that happens to you? If so, how would you know?
1. For starters, you might notice that you have more of a desire to sleep and then sleep some more. You may feel lethargic and lose the desire to do anything but sleep.
2. Another big sign is having unusual feelings of nervousness, anxiety, irritability, and an inability to concentrate.
3. You may feel hungrier and have a strong craving for carbs, which may lead to weight gain if you are overeating.
4. Leaden feelings in your extremities, like you have a hard time moving your heavy feeling body.
5. Worst of all, you may feel the desire to withdrawal into solitude and gain a general loss of interest in life.
How to beat it:
1. Get more vitamin D
2. Get more B12 (B vitamins play a big role in how the brain and nervous system function)
3. Get regular exercise
-At least 20 minutes a day
-Aim for as much outdoor exercise as possibly.
4. Try yoga & meditation
5. Make YOU time
-Take a bubble bath
-Get a massage
6. Keep busy
-Declutter your home
-Find a new hobby
-Plan a vacation
-Write in a journal
-Volunteer in your community
-Sing & Dance!
-Discover new music
-Follow through on your New Year's resolution
7. Follow a healthy diet
-Add probiotics (they help to balance gut function and increase nutrient absorption)
-Drink a LOT of water (water regulates most of the body's functions)
-Avoid caffeine (caffeine alters the mood and increases anxiety)
-Drink less alcohol
8. Connect with family and friends
-Schedule regular game nights!
-Smile and laugh
9. Spend time with your pet (research has proven that having a pet can lower depression & anxiety)
10. Fill your home with summer scents!
11. Use herbs
-St. John's Wort
12. Hang Eucalyptus in shower
13. Seek a counselor
Fit Therapy of Texas Licensed Professional Counselors provide individual counseling to adults & tweens and are qualified to treat a variety of issues including, but not limited to: anger management, ANXIETY, behavioral issues, body image issues, depression, grief, mood disorders, self-esteem, stress reduction management, and trauma. Our counselors accept insurance to include Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS), United Health Care (UHC), Humana..